When laws on brief-time period leases head to Metropolis Council for a ultimate determination later this month, they won’t be coming with a stamp of approval from an advisory board.
The Planning and Zoning Fee voted 2-four Thursday night time towards recommending the proposal, which might primarily legalize and regulate residence rental providers operated by means of on-line platforms corresponding to Airbnb, VRBO and Homeaway.
King Coltrin, vice chair of the fee, voted in favor of the plan whereas voicing some reservations.
Coltrin referred to as the laws complicated, arbitrary and heavy-handed. He stated they might discourage individuals from working brief-time period leases.
“If you wish to be cool in Springfield, you are going to have these sorts of alternatives for individuals to remain,” Coltrin stated, describing Airbnb as a “cool” amenity like Uber, a experience-hailing service that got here to Springfield greater than a yr in the past after extensive regulatory negotiations between the city and the company.
The proposal would require owners of short-term rentals to obtain annual business licenses and certificates of occupancy. For certain areas, the city is laying out distance requirements between different short-term rentals. Some properties, if they’re not owner-occupied, would need to get a conditional use permit through a lengthy process that costs $1,700.
Several Springfield residents who operate Airbnb rentals spoke at Thursday’s meeting to oppose the proposed regulations.
Julie Blackman said Airbnb is “self-regulating.”
The online platform has a rating and review system for both hosts and guests. Guests can choose not to stay at homes with poor reviews. Hosts also have the option of denying reservations from guests.
Blackman questioned how many complaints the city has received about short-term rentals, as compared to complaints about regular rental homes.
“If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” Blackman said.
John Horner said he’s been renting homes out for short-term stays for five years.
He’s had hundreds of guests, Horner said, including people from all over the world who come to Springfield for Route 66.
“Hearing these regulations is a little overwhelming tonight,” Horner said.
Horner took issue with a proposed distance requirement. For single-family or townhouse residential zoning districts, short-term rentals must be more than 500 feet “along or across the street” from another short-term rental or bed and breakfast.
The city would approve operators on a first come, first served basis — meaning if the neighbor next door to Horner’s property decided to submit an application before he does, Horner would not be able to rent it out on a short-term basis anymore.
Jenna Lively called Airbnb “a hobby” for her family. It’s not only an additional source of income, Lively said, but it also gives them a chance to meet new people.
“So far it’s been great,” Lively said. “We really enjoy it.”
Lively said Airbnb’s system encourages owners to take care of their homes and does…